This Spanish sci-fi horror thriller, which landed on Netflix last Friday, probably isn’t going to help with any self-isolation anxiety that you may be experiencing at the moment. And, if you’re currently guilty of hoarding toilet rolls and basic food stuffs at the expense of those around you that need it most, then The Platform is here to give you a grim and grisly look at the consequences of taking everything all for yourself.
Goreng awakens in a very sparse prison-like room. At the other end of the room, past the square shaped hole in the centre of the floor, his elderly cell mate Trimagasi sits on his bed and explains to Goreng the setup he finds himself in. They are on floor 48 of a building with an unknown number of levels and the hole in the centre of their floor extends above and below as far as they can see. Each day, a platform way up on floor zero is filled with a feast of food, all cooked by a team of chefs. The platform then descends down through each level, stopping for a few minutes to allow the inhabitants of that floor to feed, before moving down again. In theory, there is enough food on the platform to feed everyone, on all levels, but by the time it gets to Goreng it’s already looking less than appetising, so obviously those that are unfortunate to be much lower down are going to miss out.
Trimagasi tucks in, grateful for anything he can get, knowing full well what it’s like to be on a much lower floor. In an added twist, the cellmates are all gassed once a month and wake the next morning on a completely different floor – they could be higher, or lower in the food chain. What’s more, if anyone takes food from the platform and doesn’t eat it before the platform moves on, their level is either heated or frozen until it’s residents are dead.
At the end of the month, Goreng and Trimagasi wake up on floor 171 and when the platform reaches them, it’s full of empty bowls and plates. And that’s when Goreng really finds himself tested. Back on a higher level, Goreng tries to educate those below him that if they take only what they need then those lower down will be fed, but it’s an impossible task. Greed and desperation prevail and you’ll need a strong stomach to watch the horror unfold. Preferably not while eating a meal.
The Platform isn’t very subtle in it’s message, but that’s not to say it isn’t hugely enjoyable. There’s a real thrill in the anticipation of finding out what happens when you’re on level 202 and what happens when you’re on level 6 and while the horror is gruesome and effective, it never feels gratuitous or over the top.
The only thing that lets The Platform down for me is the ending. It’s open to some interpretation, and feels a little unresolved, not having anywhere near the level of impact as the rest of the movie.